From books, to toys to trips out, the green Christmas list is long and varied
By Annette Chrysostomou
How about giving a thoughtful, sustainable and environment-linked gift to your loved ones for Christmas?
There is a plethora of presents to choose from, you only have to figure out what your recipients would be happy to get. Are they already interested in the environment, and want to learn more about it by reading a book? If yes, would they like a coffee table book or something more specific, such information on Cypriot spiders? Or are they not that interested in reading, but prefer to buy a product? To a family with children, you may want to give a gift voucher for an outing – or even a short holiday – in Cyprus of course. Last but not least, what about the children? What kind of present will interest them enough to send them on the path to an environmentally friendly future?
Here are some ideas, starting with the books. Buying local is a first when it comes to having a positive impact on the environment, thus all of the following are available from the Moufflon bookshop in Nicosia (visit www.moufflon.com.cy or call 22-665155)
60 Cypriot spiders: an introduction to the spiders of Cyprus and their relatives is one idea. The author, Duncan McCowan, argues the essential first step towards the enjoyment of spiders is to be able to identify them.
Introduction to the wild life of Cyprus is an 870 page book about every creature in Cyprus, and is a great example of a coffee table book. It is an impressive compilation by 44 authors who have made this possible, aided by more than 1,000 photos. Publisher Terra Cypria “hopes the book will stimulate a wider interest in the nature history of Cyprus”.
Edible & toxic fungi of Cyprus is another option. From the introduction: “The ecological importance of fungi is immense. Saprophytic fungi are almost single-handedly responsible for the continuous recycling of dead matter on our planet. Symbiotic fungi form indispensable partnerships with a wide range of living organisms.”
The Nicosia-based bookshop also stocks Seashells of Cyprus, whose author John Orr aptly points out that “the fascinating sea creatures featured in this book are a warning and a timely reminder that the drive against pollution must be rigorously pursued if they are to retain an already tenuous hold on their existing habitats.”
You may also consider Troodos from sea to summit. “Stand anywhere on the higher slopes of Troodos and the rocks under your feet are extra special,” is a teaser. The book succeeds in giving readers some fresh insights into the landscapes of this impressive region – hopefully also spreading the message that starting fires in the area is a major crime.
Products are next on the list of suitable gifts and for this Limassol-based environmental organisation Let’s Make Cyprus Green has some great ideas available at https://www.letsmakecyprusgreen.com/eco-shop/. Cosmetics such as deodorants from ethically sourced ingredients are for sale, as well as soaps and creams. More about Let’s Make Cyprus Green on gift suggestions for children below.
BirdLife Cyprus has a yearly calendar for sale which for 2022 is about local forest birds. If the 2021 calendar, about local owls, is anything to go by, it is bound to be a great addition to any bird lover’s home. It can be purchased here https://birdlifecyprus.org/calendar2022/
Both environmental organisations are aware that products and books are not the limit and environmentally related activities will contribute to environmental awareness.
Thus, BirdLife Cyprus has recently launched a programme whereby this Christmas people can give the gift of a BirdLife Cyprus membership and support their efforts to conserve nature in Cyprus. They can choose among a single, joint, family or junior membership. Junior and family members receive special ‘goodies’ to make the most out of their membership.
More information: https://birdlifecyprus.org/support-us/become-a-member/
Another cute idea for families they have come up with is Adopt a bird. See more here: https://birdlifecyprus.org/adopt-a-bird/
The Cyprus Agrotourism company offers accommodation in rural hideaways for reduced prices, a chance for parents and children to bond while appreciating nature. This comes in the form of an E-gift card valid for one year. Details can be accessed at https://www.agrotourism.com.cy/buy-e-gift-card
Families are also likely to have a great time at Ecophysis bee and nature centre in Vavla, which offers educational and fun bee tours all year round. Excursions include a video on the life and importance of honeybees. The next one is on December 18, with a full day tour for children, adults and pets and more tours are on the card for January. For more info, contact 96373013 or see www.ecophysiscy.com
The first map of Cyprus for children for sale in English, Russian and German, also available at the Moufflon bookshop, is bound to interest both parents and children. The map features places such as the Akrotiri environmental centre and the Riverland Biofarm where all can learn about how organic milk and cheese are made, and as a bonus are allowed to pet animals including very cute baby goats and sheep!
For kids, there are numerous other options. The Cyprus mandala colouring book series by Melissa Hekkers includes My Cape Greco Mandala, which is the third in a series, a book inspired by the wildlife of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus which was preceded by My Akamas Mandala, on a variety of endemic plants found in the Akamas natural reserve.
Back to Let’s make Cyprus Green. Via the game board game PowerHaus children are bound to have fun renovating a house that loses heat and wastes a lot of energy.
By drawing cards from inside the house, they learn about habits and attitudes that save energy.
By exploring the city’s shops, they will also discover products and services that can be purchased to make the home even more efficient.
Water Game, another board game, promises a journey full of challenges and surprises faced by cooperating with others.
Picture cards and quizzes help children to discover the importance of water and the correct daily habits to reduce water waste.
While these are suitable for children from the age of seven, the next option is for the little ones, three to six years old.
Hungry bins is a classification game which aims to familiarise players with the subject of separate waste collection.
“Children discover different types of waste and learn to recognise their respective collection bins. To make the association process easier, the waste token features the colour of the corresponding bin” is how the non-profit organisation describes it.